The Divinity of an Ordinary Life

This life and this world often seem so beautiful and compelling that I am swept up in intensities of absorption in – the moment, the environment, the beloved.  Something that is intoxicating and challenging at once.  As I walk down a friend’s gravel driveway each stone shifts slightly beneath my feet as I move and each muscle in my legs contracts and relaxes continually adjusting my body to keep it upright.  My right index finger and thumb are warm as they rest on the rubber part of the insulated mug of tea I’m carrying and the lower fingers are cool holding the stainless steel.  A breeze caresses my neck and I smell the pungent earth being turned on the next farm.  I have no thoughts, every perception is direct and uninterpreted and this existence feels so achingly beautiful and precious. I am entirely present in this moment as this moment, in this world as this world, in this body as this body and yet I am formless, changeless and endless.  I have always been and here I am anew.  I am endlessly creating and eternally identical.

Or I can be at work at a new house construction site smelling the pine and fir lumber and find myself admiring the symmetry of the open framing and notice the shadow patterns stretching across the floor and feel the weight of the drill in my hands and sense the intention to drill the next hole and bend forward, extend my arms, squeeze the trigger and feel the jerk of the drill as the bit bites into the wood.  It’s a whole symphony of shape and sound and form and motion all alive with spirit.

Or I can be at brunch with my wife and two friends of 30 years and as we sit at the table and our friends make final preparations, a playful conversational banter rolls around the kitchen.  We haven’t gotten together like this for a while so this is a treat we all are relishing.  When food is on the table and all are seated, we join hands for a silent grace and as Winifred’s right hand, cool from holding her drink, moves into my left and Sharon’s left hand, warm and moist from washing in the sink, moves into my right, I feel their smooth small hands in mine, one cool and one warm, noticing how we’re all so different and yet so the same.  Each of us is seeing the same table from a different perspective.  As we close our eyes, the afterimage of the table stays with me; the first asparagus of the season sauteed on its plate, the rosemary potatoes and quiche making a perfect centerpiece.  I am so taken by the appreciation of this simple moment, I feel myself slip off a precipice and fall into a bottomless space of adoration and gratitude and love.  I find it difficult to describe how this feels because in these moments, I’m stripped of all my intelligence and sophistication and competence.  In a few moments, people begin to stir and Winifred, sensing something asks, “are you okay?” Struggling to reengage with phenomena, I mumble something like, “yeah, I’m just having a moment here.”  The teary-eyed intensity of this slowly passes and I rejoin the party but from a quieter depth.  This sacramental impulse just arrives on my interior landscape like a sudden gust of wind, sometimes whispering, sometimes howling, but always unmistakably itself – a love without a particular object or point of origin.

I should also say that these moments, telling as they are, don’t mean I can’t also at times feel frustrated, worried or fearful.  I do.  A divinely human life can be intensely challenging in both directions and I have great familiarity with the territory at both ends of the spectrum.

© Steve Boggs  2009

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